Pacesetter was formed in 1983 or 1984 by former employees of TSR. Headquartered in Delavan, Wisconsin, the founders included John Ricketts, Troy Denning, and Mark Acres. Former TSR Vice President Will Niebling handled sales through his company, Niebling & Associates. Pacesetter went only 3 years before winding down to one full time employee, Ricketts. Their last release was in 1986 before going out of business due to being under capitalized. Pacesetter's intellectual property and remaining inventory was sold off to a liquidator, and all inventory, copyrights, and trademarks belonging to Pacesetter were subsequently sold to 54°40' Orphyte, with the exception of Chill, which was bought by Mayfair Games.
Pacesetter turned out a lot of finished product given their small staff, four role-playing games and three board games.
Chill (Pacesetter Edition) (1984)
Star Ace (1984)
TIMEMASTER (1984, Goblinoid Games edition 2011)
Sandman (1985, Goblinoid Games electronic edition 2012)
Chill: Black Morn Manor (1985)
Wabbit Wampage (1985)
Wabbit's Wevenge (1986)
54°40' Orphyte has sold all of its rights to other parties as of 2012. Daniel Proctor of Goblinoid Games currently owns the Pacesetter brand and logo, and all rights to Timemaster and Sandman. Phil Reed of Ronin Arts owns Star Ace. Mayfair still owns the rights to Chill.
Troy Denning went on to become a best-selling author and the best known of the Pacesetter alumni.
Interestingly, top flight game designer Matt Forbeck lived near Pacesetter's office and often did playtesting there while he was still in high school. Martin A. Stever also did a lot of playtesting for the company and helped out on the sales side while interning for Niebling & Associates.